3,021 runaway kids rescued by GRP in ’19 reunited with familyUpdated: Jan 05, 2020, 23:30 IST
In 2019, 3,021 runaway or lost children were reunited with their families after being found unattended on railway platforms in Mumbai by the Government Railway Police (GRP).
According to GRP officers, under Operation Muskaan, an initiative of the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) to rescue or rehabilitate missing children, 3,227 children (2,258 were boys and 969 girls) on railway premises were traced last year. In 2018, 2,570 children (1,698 boys and 872 girls under 18) were traced.
After tracing the children with help from the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and various non-government organisations (NGOs), they were reunited with their families or rehabilitated in children’s homes. Officers said that most of the children were involved in begging rackets or were wandering aimlessly.
GRP commissioner Ravindra Sengaonkar said that railway police across the state had been notified to trace missing children under Operation Muskaan. He said that last year, of the 3,227 rescued, at least 643 were physically handicapped.
The children whose addresses could not be found were sent to the children’s home in Dongri from where they were reunited with their parents or guardians. “At present, 206 kids are in the children’s home and efforts are being made to send them back to their families or rehabilitate them so that they do not end up in the begging racket again,” said a GRP officer.
“Our teams had studied all the railway stations and platforms and identified spots where kids were seen begging or were reported to be roaming unattended,” added the officer.
Sengaonkar said the GRP has been notified to raise awareness among commuters and urge them to take action if they spot unsupervised children. “Commuters can either bring the children to GRP chowkies at the railway stations; alert officers by sending photos on the Railway WhatsApp numbers, or call the helpline 1512,” said Sengaonkar.